More news on the dramatic walk-out from Dáil Éireann by Opposition parties in protest at the Fine Oibre coalition’s attempt to ram through the Oireachtas its new Gaeltacht Bill that many fear will destroy the already besieged Irish-speaking communities of Ireland.
From the Irish Times:
“Irish-language advocacy groups Conradh na Gaeilge and Guth na Gaeltachta have welcomed an Opposition walk-out in the Dáil yesterday during the debate on the Gaeltacht Bill.
This proposed legislation would abolish elections for the regional development authority of the Gaeltachtaí and shrink the size of its governing board [ASF: So removing any form of democratic mandate or representation for the Irish-speaking communities of the Gaeltachtaí, a deliberate act of Anglophone dictatorship].
The Oireachtas Committee on Gaeltacht Affairs “wasn’t given the opportunity to even discuss the Gaeltacht Bill 2012”, Julian de Spáinn, Conradh na Gaeilge general secretary, said yesterday.
“The most important legislation pertaining to the Gaeltacht and the Irish language in almost 60 years was pushed through the… Oireachtas before the summer break.”
Opposition TDs withdrew from further debate at Minister of State for the Gaeltacht Dinny McGinley’s refusal to accept any of its 150-plus amendments.”
Meanwhile the Galway Independent reports that:
“Julian de Spáinn, General Secretary of Conradh na Gaeilge, which has several branches across Galway, said the decision had highlighted the Government’s complete lack of partnership and lack of communication when dealing with the Irish-speaking and Gaeltacht communities, and with the political system, regarding this legislation.
“Government Irish-language policies have enjoyed cross-party support over the last number of years, and the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Gaeltacht affairs has played a central, critical role in the dialogue and discussion with the public to ensure this cross-party support.
“The Joint Committee wasn’t given the opportunity to even discuss The Gaeltacht Bill 2012 however, as the most important legislation pertaining to the Gaeltacht and the Irish language in almost 60 years was pushed through the Houses of the Oireachtas before the summer break.”
Mr de Spáinn continued to say that the organisation has been lobbying both opposition and government TDs since the publication of the Bill four weeks ago in an effort to make various amendments and ensure the strongest and most effective legislation for the Irish-speaking and Gaeltacht communities.
“The opposition showed their clear support for the majority of the recommendations made by Conradh na Gaeilge and Guth na Gaeltachta and when approached, many members of the Fine Gael and the Labour parliamentary parties let it be known to us that the decision had been made, that they had no control over the situation, and that the Government was not going to accept a single amendment to The Gaeltacht Bill 2012.”
Éamonn Mac Niallais of Guth na Gaeltachta also added that every stage of the process had “exposed the lack of democracy and lack of public engagement” in relation to the Bill.
“The legislation is intended to provide for the needs of the Irish-speaking and Gaeltacht communities, but totally and utterly disregards the opinions, recommendations and proposed amendments of those self-same communities.
“The Opposition indicated earlier today that they would put an amendment Gaeltacht Bill before the Houses of the Oireachtas in the coming months, and Guth na Gaeltachta and Conradh na Gaeilge will work with them and with the public to draft a comprehensive, satisfactory bill, a bill that will complement ‘The 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010 – 2030’.”
Conradh na Gaeilge and Guth na Gaeltachta are calling on the public to consult their local TDs about the amended Gaeltacht bill before the Dáil resumes in September and to take an active role in the debate and discussion about the legislation over the summer break.”
When will the rights of Ireland’s Irish-speaking communities and citizens be recognised and accepted? Or must they always be second-class citizens with second-class rights under a purposely discriminatory Anglo-Irish regime?
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